Stumped on electrical issue.

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Old 01-19-14, 02:13 PM
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Stumped on electrical issue.

I can't get an electrician soon enough to figure this out so hopefully someone can help me. I need to know of any other possibilities of what can cause this issue.

I have an outlet that when the ground wire touches the box of the outlet it blows the fuse. This outlet is hooked up between two other outlets that work just fine with no issues. This outlet is the only one that has this issue. I'm told the only thing that can cause this issue is a power hitting the box which I've doubled checked that and can't find anywhere it would be touching.

Yesterday I actually had the ground wire touching first than tried to put the power wire to the outlet connection and it sparked really bad but didn't blow the fuse.

Does this seem like something above the do it yourself kind a thing lol

Kevin
 
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Old 01-19-14, 02:49 PM
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Welcome to the forums! I would remove the power and pull the receptacle just prior to this one and inspect the wiring there. If nothing looks awry, pull the wires in the cable between the two and check the resistance between the grounding wire and black wire. It sounds like a prime candidate for a staple driven too tightly.
 
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Old 01-19-14, 02:52 PM
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I will try that. I did change one wire going to the other plug as it was older wire just to see if maybe it was that wire causing it, but that didn't help. I still have the other wire that goes to the other outlet I will have to check that one I guess.
 
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Old 01-19-14, 03:24 PM
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Ok i can't find any issue with the wire itself. The power coming from the left of outlet wasn't connected to the outlet and I figured i'd try and touch the box with the ground wire see if it would do anything but it didn't. I than connected both ground wires to the box and connected power to outlet and the other wire that goes to another outlet that goes to a junction box and than to other outlets and lights.(Old house). The only wire I did not connect right away was the power black wire soon as it touched the outlet it blow the fuse. So I'm assuming this tells me the issue is on the other side of the outlet that goes to the junction box, but what puzzles me is that the other outlet that it hits before the junction box (which is all new wire) that outlet box doesn't have this happen. So I have two outlets on each side of the bad one that doesn't have any issues like this. Puzzling.
 
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Old 01-19-14, 03:34 PM
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Since you aren't really familiar with wiring. The best thing to do is to pull out every device that is on the problem circuit. Leave them out while you troubleshoot. If you have an ohmmeter you can troubleshoot the circuit with power off. With an ohmmeter you should not see any resistance between black and ground.... or the box.

If the ground wires were all connected properly to the boxes then you couldn't have a ground wire touching the box and sparking. It sounds to me like the boxes weren't grounded properly and there is a hot wire touching the ungrounded box(es). Could be a bare hot wire, or a wayward box support(madison bar) or a receptacle screw touching the box.

If you have all the devices out you can eliminate a lot of the possible problems.
 
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Old 01-19-14, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by PJmax View Post
With an ohmmeter you should not see any resistance between black and ground.... or the box.
Yes, semantics I know, but technically this is a biggie..

There shouldn't be any continuity between the black and ground. "No resistance" implies that the meter should read 0 or thereabouts - which it probably will if there's a short. "No continuity" means the meter should read OL or (Infinity)
 
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Old 01-21-14, 10:08 AM
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Ok I can't find anything physically wrong with the wires. I bought a Receptacle tester and it's telling me this:

Plug where power is going into from the light fixture (main power) is showing that it's connected right. The one in the middle I can't test with the tester yet because I can't really hook up a outlet properly yet because of the issue I'm trying to figure out. The other outlet after this one is showing Hot/Neu Reverse. From there that goes to a junction box. From that junction box goes to another outlet and that outlet is reading open neutral. That outlet might be reading that because at the middle outlet the problem outlet I only have the white and black together and the ground wire isn't connected together because as soon as they touch they will blow the fuse. So can I narrow my issue with these two readings of Hot/Neu reverse and open ground?

Thanks and sorry for being so clueless. Once I have this at least working order so I can finish the drywall I do intend to have an electrician to see it, just can't get anyone at this time and that is putting my drywall at a stand still.

Kevin
 
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Old 01-21-14, 10:11 AM
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Also to add the outlets with these readings I look at them and all the blacks and whites are in there proper place and the grounds are both on the box. I don't understand why the outlets that are not giving me any problems are the ones giving me these readings.
 
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Old 01-21-14, 12:23 PM
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In the first photo is plug number one that is working fine and tested right. This one also is the one that has the power coming in from the light fixture. The second photo is the problem plug which you will see currently only hooked up together and the ground wires are loose because until I figure this out I can't connect them or they will blow the fuse. I do not want to go another night leaving it like this as I don't feel safe leaving it like this. The third plug in the photo is the one that is testing Hot/Neu reverse. That plug goes to a junction box too dark in attic for photo. The junction box has three wires coming into it with all the whites together and all the blacks together. After the junction box there is the fourth plug not in this photo is the one testing open ground.
 
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Old 01-21-14, 01:12 PM
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You need a multimeter, preferably analog, to do any serious testing. Get one of those and we can better help you. Should only cost $8-$15.
 
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Old 01-22-14, 04:02 PM
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Got a multi meter now what? I honestly don't know what to do with it. I've used one, but I just don't know what I"m suppose to be doing to troubleshoot this particular problem.
 
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Old 01-22-14, 04:32 PM
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  • Disconnect all of the wires except ground from the functioning receptacles on either side of the problem receptacle.
  • Turn the breaker on and find the hot cable using the multimeter set to AC volts. Check each disconnected cable in all three boxes.
  • Cap the black and white of the "hot" cable.
  • Connect the black and white of the non hot cable in the left hand box together with a wire nut.*
  • At the problem receptacle check between the black and white of each cable. The cable that shows continuity came from the left hand box.
  • Disconnect the black wire from the white wire in the left hand box.
  • In the problem box check for continuity using you multimeter set to the lowest ohms sale from each black and each white to the ground wire. (This is why the ground must remain connected in each box where you disconnected other wires for testing testing.)
Test the right hand box in same way and report back your results.

*If neither cable in the left hand box is a hot cable check both cables separately to determine which goes to the problem box.

Caution: Always check for voltage before checking for continuity even if you are sure the two wires are not hot. Same when you connect a black to white. Always check for voltage first.
 
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Old 01-23-14, 06:30 PM
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Ok as long as I followed instructions well. I have continuity in all the wires goin I all direction between all the outlets.
 
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Old 01-23-14, 07:58 PM
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Do any of the wires show continuity to ground. That is the key question.
 
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Old 01-23-14, 08:00 PM
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Is it possible to get pics that are more focused?
 
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Old 01-23-14, 09:54 PM
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The last picture looks like hot and neutral are indeed reversed. The left prong is supposed to be white.
 
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Old 01-23-14, 11:03 PM
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Where does the power from the panel come in?
 
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Old 01-24-14, 09:49 PM
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The power is coming into the first outlet first picture. All the blacks are on the good and the whites on seep rate side the silver. I didn't get to check continuity with ground yet. By time I figure this maybe my electrician will call me back be too late.
 
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Old 01-25-14, 01:30 PM
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Ok it took me a minute to figure out that the pictures are mirrored. I was all ready to call out some serious manufacturing issues with the first picture (polarized/neutral slot on the right) until I noticed the Tuck Tape logo is backwards...
 
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